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Old 06-26-2007, 05:59 PM   #1
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Default Super cheap fermenter cooling

Warm summer months affecting your brewing temps for ale?

Don't want to setup a fridge or deep freeze for temp control?

I have a super cheap answer that'll cost you $20 to make, and harnesses some of your central A/C for cooling.

Head to Lowe's/Home Depot/big box hardware store. Head to the insulation materials, and buy a 4'x8' sheet of that pink extruded foam board insulation...the stuff they put up when they do siding on a house.

Then construct a simple 4 sided box, and a 5th piece to act as a lid.

Then simply position the box so it sits over part of an air conditioner vent. You'll have to adjust the position of your lid to allow air exchange so the box doesn't get too warm or too cold for the yeast you're using.

This was pretty much a proof of concept design. I will likely get some thin plywood and some hinges, and make something a little more solid...actually constructed, rather than using duct tape.
Then glue the insulation inside the box.

Here's a photo of what it looks like in my little spare bedroom/stained glass studio


and here's the thermometer showing a balmy 67.5F
click me.

its not for lagering but it'll keep your ales cooled off in the summer, and could be used for bottle conditioning some beers too.

*edited to add*

Forgot to mention, I keep my A/C dialed between 76-78F, so I'm getting a good 9-10 degree drop with the lid vented. when I had ti closed I was at 65F.

*edited 6-13-08*

I would just add that this will work better if you can get a nice sized cardboard box like from a larger tv or a dishwasher, and then glue the foam insulation inside. it'll be a little more durable and hold the cold better.

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Old 06-26-2007, 06:16 PM   #2
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Nice job! I've been thinking of this for my brew closet, but I don't have central cooling. I don't really need it since only a couple of days a year does it get over 100F around here. My brew closet stays at around mid to upper 70's on a bad day... I guess that's not so bad...

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Old 06-26-2007, 06:25 PM   #3
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All of my AC vents are 7' in the air, but I see what you're going for.

Nice!

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Old 06-26-2007, 06:30 PM   #4
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That's better than what I have been doing, basically the same thing but with a cardboard box.

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Old 06-26-2007, 07:03 PM   #5
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originally I was gonna use flexible dryer vent ducting to pipe in the cold air, but then managed to make space to just put it over the vent, using about half of it to cool the box.
you can't see it but the vent is on the back left of the box, hence why i left the right side of the lid cracked.

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Old 06-26-2007, 08:23 PM   #6
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Here's my cheap-ass solution.

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Old 06-26-2007, 09:38 PM   #7
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That is a good idea, and would work great I'm sure, but my vents are all close to the ceiling, and not on the floor.

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Old 06-26-2007, 10:09 PM   #8
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good idea, but why not just make a fermentation chiller? 90% of the money is in the foam for those anyway.

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Old 06-26-2007, 10:49 PM   #9
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i had the space next to the vent already, and didn't know about Son of the Fermentation Chiller until your post prompted me to look it up

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Old 06-26-2007, 11:26 PM   #10
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At least you don't have to change out ice bottles.

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